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Indian real estate going the precast way!

Mr. Raj Pillai, Executive Director, Concrete Products Division, Sobha Limited elaborately shares with Built Constructions on how precast concrete gives edge for real estate companies over costs and safety.

Introduction

In recent days, the word 'Precast' has been doing its rounds in the India real estate market and it appears that both, private entities and the government are eyeing this technology to reap its benefits. For instance, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in Karnataka recently announced that it has adopted precast technology to construct apartments for families who lost their houses in the anti-encroachment drive carried out by it in order to restore lakebeds. Importantly, through precast, the government's ambitious scheme of Housing for All by 2020 can be easily met. Therefore, it is a clear indication of precast becoming the way forward for the real estate sector in India.

Simply put, precast technology is an advanced method of construction that involves casting of concrete in a reusable mould. It is cured in a stable and controlled environment, transported to the site and fitted into place. Precast concrete is highly versatile and is available in a vast variety of different sizes, functions and finishes and colours as need be.

Precast Technology

Use of precast technology-based construction in real estate has been gaining ground universally. It is already being widely used in some Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and The Philippines in a substantial manner, especially in housing construction. The Housing development board in Singapore has been constructing homes for its citizens since 80's using precast technology and it is more or less most accepted form of housing construction in Singapore today. In fact the technology in vogue today at Singapore is prefabricated bath units or PBU. While Precast has its roots are in European nations, precast construction technology is believed to have been first used in ancient Rome for the construction of aqueducts, culverts and tunnels. Precast panelled buildings made an appearance in England as early as 1905, but for some reason it did not gain much currency there. Meanwhile, it made its way to the rest of the world, mostly into Eastern Europe, Southern Asia and Scandinavia.

In India, the use of precast construction in real estate is quite new, but is likely to take root gradually as it offers major advantages to both customers and real estate developers. The chief benefits of this technology are in quality control, uniformity, time saved and the ability to continue work irrespective of the weather. These are the reasons why the notable real estate developers hope to do away with the biggest bugbear of their industry - project delay – as the seasonal labour crunches during festivals and money being stuck in ongoing projects and late returns from these projects can be avoided.Precast construction is also the ONLY answer to the affordable housing needs of our country as it cuts construction costs by up to 15 percent, which is a huge saving. 

 

This technology also gives real estate companies a tighter control over costs and safety. The traditional in situ mode of construction results in project overruns, costs shooting up and also suffers from a longer construction time. Proper Precast construction also ensures that homes are build for their service life. To home and commercial building buyers, precast construction technology allows in quicker occupancy that helps in saving on rent and generating money faster, respectively. Such construction results in better comfort through lower sound transmission, better resistance to fire and are decay proof. Maintenance costs are also kept low as such construction averts leakage, seepage and cracks, which can be spotted is almost any house or commercial building now dotting the horizon.

World Class Precast Plant

Sobha Limited, one of India's premium real estate firms,  is the first one to have an in-house world class  precast plant to cater to its newly launched milestone project, 'Sobha Dream Acres', under its new segment in housing - 'Sobha Dream Series' in Balagere, Bengaluru. This project is situated in the IT corridor of Bangalore and is designed for the young professionals at a very affordable pricing. Sobha's precast plant at Belagere, Bangalore Dream series project site is most  latest in technology that enables unmatched quality and speed of construction.

This state-of-the-art plant allows modular structures to be constructed with production of walls, slabs, columns, beams, staircase, sunshade elements etc and the same is transported and erected at site with state of the art equipments. This plant would cater to 10 million sq ft of construction in less then four year time. Due to its benefits, this technology has many promise such as usage of form liners , coloured and pigmented concrete, PBU etc. Having  said this, the  technology calls for intensive planning as major changes cannot be made once construction begins. A thorough and final building design and detailing with shop drawings is absolutely necessary before construction even starts for the seamless execution of this technology.

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